Earth Science Week 2008: No Child Left Inside
A screenshot of a poster of Earth's Water Cycle and different types of clouds

Earth science resources, such as this cloud chart, are available for teachers in the Earth Science Week educator kit. Image Credit: NASA

Textbooks and computers are full of information about Earth. So much information makes it easy to forget an important part of learning about our home planet: getting outside and exploring the natural world.

Thus, the theme of this year's Earth Science Week -- "No Child Left Inside" -- urges young people to experience Earth science firsthand by venturing outdoors. Earth Science Week takes place Oct. 12-18, and is hosted annually by the American Geological Institute in cooperation with various sponsors. The week encourages understanding and appreciation for the Earth sciences and stewardship of Earth.

NASA has contributed the following items to an educator kit designed to help teachers engage students in Earth science before, during and after this special week:
--GLOBE Cloud Watch Activity -- Over a five-day period, students look at clouds and write down what they see. They also record weather observations and then look for patterns that can be used to predict the weather. GLOBE is an international program in which K-12 students measure the environment, share data with each other, and use the data to conduct science projects and research.

--NASA/NOAA Cloud Chart -- A glossy, two-sided color chart shows different cloud types and the altitudes at which different clouds form. The chart can be used in conjunction with the GLOBE Cloud Watch activity and also includes an illustration of Earth's water cycle.

--Plant an Ozone-Monitoring Garden -- This NASA activity for grades 6-9 appears in the Earth Science Week 2008 Earth Science Activity Calendar. Students start by observing ozone damage to plants in their neighborhood. Then they plant their own garden with ozone-sensitive plants, similar to the ozone-monitoring gardens at several NASA centers.

--Polar Pastimes Postcard -- A lenticular card features images of the McMurdo area in Antarctica on the front. The back lists Internet resources for polar exploration, and includes a treasure hunt that challenges students to match Web site descriptions with the resources listed.

--Earth Observations From Space CD -- At the request of NASA, the National Academies published a 2008 report -- "Earth Observations From Space: The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements" -- that describes how satellites have revolutionized the Earth sciences. The CD contains the full report. It provides animations and images that highlight the scientific achievements made possible by satellites.
For information, and to order an educator kit, visit the Earth Science Week Web site: http://www.earthsciweek.org/   →

Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies